Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is also known as co-occurring disorders. It refers to when a person with addiction is also dealing with an mental illness or an eating disorder. Examples of this would be an alcohol addiction with clinical depression or an addiction to pills and an anxiety disorder.

Sober Techniques Focuses on Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

We have successfully treated countless clients over the years who have had various co-occurring disorders. At Sober Techniques we use a combination of group and individual therapy as well as selective drug therapy. Our focus is on stabilizing the client through a clinically managed detox in a safe and comfortable environment so that the drug abuse is physically ended before beginning therapy and counseling. Our clinicians use the evaluations performed by case managed to diagnose the mental and physical issues that have sprung from each client’s substance abuse. Addiction alters the brain in both small and significant ways. The disease affects each individual’s needs hierarchy and creates strong new priorities in relation to getting and using the drug. These compulsive behaviors are caused by the inability to rein in impulses even in the face of negative consequences. Addiction is a mental illness.

When two or more illnesses are diagnosed within the same individual, this is called comorbidity. It also implies the possibility of the illnesses being able to worsen each other. This is the main reason why it is very important to treat both illnesses at the same time. If left untreated, addiction and mental health disorders can affect one another. Both disorders can separately and collectively work to disrupt the client’s capacity to function, ability to identify with and relate to others, as well as the ability to handle changes and stressors. It is important to follow the advice that is recommended by professionals due to the way that combining medications can be an extremely dangerous practice.


When an individual enrolls with Sober Techniques, our experienced case managers will lead them through evaluations to determine if there are any co-occurring disorders. Once we have a better idea of the client’s mental illness and addiction, our case managers will work with him or her to create an individualized treatment plan that is tailored specifically to his or her needs.

The help you receive at Sober Techniques occurs within an understanding, empathetic, and supportive environment. By working with therapists and others to create life skills, clients work toward a post-treatment care plan that is designed to prolong and maintain a lifetime of sobriety.

Comorbid Drug Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses

Many clients dealing with drug or alcohol addiction  are also eventually diagnosed with other mental disorders. In the same way, many who suffer from mental illness are often diagnosed with addiction. Even though drug use disorders occur alongside of mental illnesses, it does not mean that one necessarily caused the other. Figuring out which disorder came first and why can be quite challenging at times.


Recent research suggests several possibilities for this common co-occurrence. Mental disorders can often lead to drug abuse. This can happen due to “self-medication” in order to try and temporarily relieve symptoms. Drug abuse can also cause symptoms of a different mental illness. There is an increased risk of psychosis in vulnerable cannabis users, for instance.
Shared risk factors can be the cause of both disorders. They may include the involvement of similar brain regions. For example: brain systems that respond to stress and reward can be impacted by alcohol or drug use and may display abnormal activity in clients with certain mental disorders. Both mental illness and drug use disorders are considered to be developmental disorders. Early symptoms of mental illness may indicate an increased risk for drug abuse later on in life. In the same way, exposure to drugs or alcohol early on in life can change the brain in ways that increase the potential for developing a mental illness. These disorders can start in the teen years, or earlier. These are times when the brain is going through serious developmental changes. The brain systems that respond to stress and reward are affected by drug and alcohol use. This may cause abnormalities to show in clients with certain mental disorders. Predisposing genetic factors can cause a person to be more susceptible to mental disorders and addiction. They can also create a greater risk of a second disorder once the first one appears. Overlapping environmental triggers such as trauma (sexual or physical abuse), stress, and early exposure to alcohol or drugs are common environmental factors that can lead to mental illness and addiction.



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